|— Yamaha Report
Fiat Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi put in a superb team performance today at the Grand Prix of Portugal on the Estoril circuit, taking first and second respectively to deliver Yamaha it’s third consecutive Triple Crown with the Team, Rider and Manufacturers’ titles. The achievement marks the first time since the Triple Crown’s inception that any manufacturer has won it three times in a row. After a weekend of disruption from the weather today’s race was run mainly in bright sunshine, although rain earlier in the day meant the track was still patchy to begin with.
2010 World Champion Lorenzo made a strong start from pole, taking the lead into the first corner before briefly relinquishing it to Nicky Hayden for a few seconds before taking back control of the race. Team-mate Rossi made a play for the lead on lap four, relegating Lorenzo to second until lap 17 where a decisive out braking manoeuvre saw the Spaniard retake the lead, putting his head down to build an impressive eight second lead over Rossi by the chequered flag. The victory was another landmark for Lorenzo, being the third consecutive time he has won from pole position at this track. Rossi’s second position finish continues his impressive record in Portugal, giving him his tenth podium here in all classes.
Rossi’s second-place and a non-finish from Casey Stoner means the Italian has moved back to third in the championship standings, 19 points off Dani Pedrosa and second place. The final round of the season comes in one week’s time at Valencia in Spain.
Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1st Time: 46’17.962
“On the warm-up lap I could see there were still a few wet parts and I knew that I was going to have to be careful at the beginning. I got a great start and was in the lead but eventually Valentino overtook me and then off he went. He had a better pace than me then and I couldn’t go with him. As the track got drier I found my pace improving and then step-by-step I closed the gap and was able to get past him. At that point I felt really good and I am so happy to win for the third time here at Estoril. It was a long time since I have won but my confidence has remained high and I haven’t been worried. I knew I could win here at my favourite track. We also confirmed the Triple Crown for Yamaha today so well done to the whole team for this victory.”
Valentino Rossi – Position: 2nd Time: +8.629
“Like I said yesterday, a wet warm up and a dry race is a difficult one! I am happy about this weekend, we worked really well on the bike on the wet and this morning I was the fastest in the warm up, if it had been a wet race I could have been very competitive. For the dry we started blind so I had to try to take some risks at the beginning because the setting was ok, but it was not enough because when Jorge got into his rhythm he was faster than me, I had no way to fight with him. I tried to stay with him but he was too fast. Anyway second place is positive for my championship because I am back in third place and I’m not so far from Dani Pedrosa in second. I’m happy to have improved the setting of the bike but we are still not strong enough so we will try to improve for Valencia for a final win with Yamaha.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“They were strange conditions for the race today, being run in the dry after all the wet practice sessions. We struggled at the start a bit with a full fuel tank, Jorge over braked a little on the end of the straight so P1 was not so good in the beginning. After eight or nine laps however the feeling was a lot better and he was able to catch up with Valentino and pass for the win. This is victory number eight and after a few races of not winning we are happy to be first again! We need to keep our focus for Valencia because it would be great to finish this fantastic season with one more win.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“On one side it was a very good race because we went into a dry race with a blind setting and we got a very good result, but unfortunately when you are so very close to the victory it’s hard to not get there. Anyway we took a positive second position and we learned a lot today about out setting for the final race. It was a very positive day for Yamaha too because we took the Triple Crown again, well done to everyone.”
Mixed fortunes for Edwards and Spies in Estoril
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha Team experienced mixed fortunes at the Grand Prix of Portugal today, Colin Edwards racing to a gutsy seventh position while Ben Spies was unfortunately unable to start after a heavy fall on the sighting lap.
After a weekend of atrocious weather severely disrupted the practice and qualifying schedule, the MotoGP race started on a drying track in bright and sunny but blustery conditions. Some damp patches were still visible on the surface after further torrential rain this morning, but with no dry track time under his belt, set-up and tyre choice became a lottery for Edwards.
Edwards needed to call on all his experie nce as tricky conditions in the early laps presented the 36-year-old with a severe test of skill and bravery. Working out quickly where he could push, Edwards spent the majority of the race on the fringes of an exciting five-rider fight for third place. He got up to seventh on lap 18 with an overtake on Randy de Puniet and at that point he was only 1.6s behind Marco Simoncelli in third.
Frustratingly for the Texan, he was unable to force his way into contention for a rostrum, despite launching numerous attempts to close down on the podium battle unfolding directly in front of him. He eventually finished seventh and heading to the final round in Valencia next weekend, Edwards is just one-point behind Marco Melandri in his bid to claim a top ten overall championship finish.
It was a difficult afternoon for fellow American Spies, who had impressed all weekend on his first visit to the Estoril track. Spies w as confident of a strong race despite having never completed a single lap of the track in the dry. But he crashed on the second of two sighting laps at turn four and was unable to start the 28-lap encounter.
Spies suffered a dislocated left ankle and aggravated injuries suffered in Le Mans and Silverstone earlier in the season. The 26-year-old will now travel to Spain where he will undergo MRI scans on the ankle, though he is determined to end his outstanding rookie campaign by participating in the final round in Valencia next weekend.
Colin Edwards – Position: 7th 99-points
“It was a lottery before the race because we’d had no dry track time and at the start there was still quite a few damp patches around. My guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 though did an awesome job because what we ran on the bike worked pretty good. But if you don’t adapt in a couple of laps then you’re in big trouble and off the pace. I felt pretty good from the start even though it was so difficult in the first few laps. It was hard to find the limit or work out when you were going to slide and everybody was having big moments. This is all going on why you’re trying to push at the same time and it was a bit of a lottery just to keep it on two wheels. I caught that group and I could see third but I couldn’t do anything with them and that was pretty frustrating. I made up time on them on the brakes but they just had a bit more punch coming out of the corners. So each time I’d close up, they’d gap me leaving the next corner. The podium was right there, I could see it, but I just couldn’t get close enough.”
Ben Spies – DNS 163-points
“I knew the race was going to be tough because I had never turned a lap in the dry on this track. The first sighting lap was fine and on the second I just made a mistake at turn four. Aoyama and Capirossi were in front of me and they nearly did the same thing. I just didn’t have the left side of the tyre heated up enough and it spat me off. I’m frustrated because I’m sure even in the dry I could have had a fairly good race. I’ve hurt my left ankle again and it’s pretty painful right now. I’ll have some more scans in Spain but my intention is to go to Valencia and race and hopefully do the test too. We’ll have to wait and see but that’s my plan right now.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“It was certainly a mixed day for us. Colin rode a great race and he was always in that group fighting for the podium. He gave his maximum effort and he wasn’t that far away from the podium at the end in a race that was very difficult considering nobody had any dry track time over the weekend. I was standing on the grid when Race Direction told me that Ben had crashed at turn four and I feel really sorry for him because all weekend he’s done an incredible job. He’d never seen this track and in atrocious conditions he was always one of the fastest on track. When you look at the race it is not impossible to imagine Ben being capable of fighting for the podium again. We hope he’ll be fine for Valencia and I know already that he wants to race. Congratulations also to Jorge for another fantastic win in what has been an amazing year for him and Yamaha.”
— Ducati Report
Unfortunate day at Estoril for the Ducati Marlboro Team today, with both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden showing podium potential at various stages of the race but neither of them able to convert it into a top three finish. The race was the first opportunity for the riders to test their machines in dry conditions this weekend, giving them limited data on which to base their set-up.
Engineers in the Ducati Marlboro Team garage did their utmost as always to give the riders competitive machinery but a crash on the fifth lap when he was closing the gap to eventual race winner Jorge Lorenzo for second place denied Stoner the chance to extend his recent run of podiums.
Nicky Hayden made a good start to lead the race on the second lap, after which the American hung onto third place for a lengthy spell before giving best to Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli in the closing stages, crossing the line just behind them in fifth place.
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 5th
“Today was the first time in my career that I have gone out to race in the dry without completing a single lap in those conditions before lining up on the grid. Over the first few laps the bike worked really well, I felt good and I even managed to lead the race which hasn’t happened for a while. In the middle part of the race I had a couple of moments on damp patches and lost my feeling a little. I got my rhythm back together towards the end and joined in the fight for the podium. Fifth place alongside a crash for Casey isn’t a brilliant result for the team – it has been a tough weekend on everybody but we will try to do better at Valencia.”
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) DNF
“There is not much to say today, other than it’s a shame, obviously. I was taking it steady over the first couple of laps getting the tyres up to temperature and then I was able to push a little harder to close the gap to the guys in front of me. When I got on the back of Jorge I wasn’t pushing as hard as I had on the previous laps but I ran a little off line and lost the front. I tried to save it but I wasn’t able to and I am really sorry to all the guys in the team because they have done a good job in difficult conditions to find a good set-up. We will try and make up for it in Valencia.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI Team Manager
“It has been a very demanding weekend for the whole team, from the riders to the mechanics, in very extreme conditions. They did a great job to make sure our bikes had good grid positions. Obviously having had no time to ride in the dry both Casey and Nicky were up against it in the race and there were question marks over the bike set-up and engine mapping. Casey was riding really well and I am sure he would have been fighting for the podium, as Nicky did after leading the race. It was an unlucky weekend but the bike was competitive at another track and we’ll try again at Valencia.”
— HRC Report
Honda riders Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) lit up this afternoon’s windswept Portuguese Grand Prix with a thrilling last-lap duel for third place. The two Italians swapped places twice on the final lap, Dovizioso finally passing Simoncelli as they raced towards the chequered flag to grab third by 0.059 seconds. The pair – who have been racetrack rivals since they contested minimoto races together in the late 1990s – likened the duel to their frequent confrontations as youngsters!
The race was won by recently crowned World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who outpaced team-mate Valentino Rossi on a track that was still damp in places following two days of torrential rain. Although all riders started the race with slicks tyres, this was the first time all weekend that they had ridden on slicks. Conditions yesterday afternoon were so bad that all qualifying sessions were called off, and even this morning’s warm-up outings were run on a soaking track. Grid positions for all classes were decided by lap times from free practice.
With no dry track time before the race, riders and teams had no choice but to guesstimate a suitable dry set-up and gamble on tyre choice, which suggested three highly unpredictable races. The first laps of the MotoGP were hectic, with the leading pack swapping places every other corner as riders tried to suss out the conditions. Lorenzo led lap one, Hayden lap two, before Lorenzo and then Rossi took control. With a 1.8 second lead at one-third distance, it seemed like Rossi had the race won, but Lorenzo was the fastest man on the track in the last two thirds of the 28 laps and won his eighth victory of the season by a comfortable 8.6 second margin.
The contest for third place was frantic throughout, with four Honda riders – Dovizioso, Simoncelli, Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) – in the hunt for the position at one stage, along with Nicky Hayden (Ducati). During the later stages the contest became a three-way affair between Dovizioso, Simoncelli and Hayden, though the American never got close enough to mount a serious bid for the final place on the podium.
On the last lap Simoncelli nipped inside Dovizioso at Estoril’s low-speed chicane, but Dovizioso kept his cool and focused on getting the best-possible drive out of Estoril’s sweeping final curve, which took him past Simoncelli who made a minor error in the last corner, losing him crucial speed. De Puniet finished sixth, just over one second behind Hayden who finished six tenths behind Simoncelli whose team-mate Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) had a difficult ride to ninth.
Pedrosa rode a hero’s race despite his recently broken left collarbone. The Spaniard started from the fourth row of the grid and steadily worked his way forward until he was in the group disputing third place. But as the race went on his collarbone injury began to tell – unable to fully control his RCV during heavy braking Pedrosa ran wide on several occasions, the lost time relegating him to eighth place at the finish. Despite that the former 125 and 250 World Champion retains second place in the point standings with one race remaining, at Valencia next weekend.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) rode well to work his way into the top ten shortly after half-distance but then he ran wide, allowing fellow MotoGP rookies Hector Barbera (Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) to come past him again. The Japanese ace crossed the finish line in 12th position.
A thrilling, topsy-turvy Moto2 race opened proceedings at Estoril today with the track still damp in places following some morning rainfall, though dry enough to make slick tyres the unanimous choice. The race was won by first-timer Moto2 winner Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing, Suter) who beat Alex Baldolini (Caretta Technology Race Dept, I.C.P.) by just seven hundredths of a second.
Bradl, former 125 GP winner and son of former GP rider Helmut Bradl (who won five 250 GPs for Honda in 1991) rode a perfectly judged race, pushing hardest where the track was at its most grippy and taking care in the less grippy final part of the lap. Baldolini did get in front a few laps from the flag but Bradl had a better pace and eventually Baldolini settled for second and his first-ever podium finish.
The battle for the final podium featured plenty of rough and tumble, with a group of nine riders going for third place in the final laps. Phillip Island winner Alex De Angelis (JIR Moto2, Motobi) won the fight in the final seconds, outpacing Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter) and impressive Moto2 first-timer Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP, Suter) in the run to the chequered flag. Both de Angelis and Redding had charged through the pack after a steady first few laps when the track was still quite damp in places. The pair were 12th and 21st at the end of lap one.
Sofuoglo was the star performer in the early stages, breaking away from the pack at a terrific rate to build a seven second advantage in the first 11 laps, despite the treacherous conditions. But he was struggling with a loose left handlebar, the legacy of a crash during morning warm-up. His mechanics had still been fixing the damaged bike on the grid, hence the oversight.
With the handlebar causing him problems, the double World Supersport Champion’s lead dwindled rapidly and he was caught by Bradl and Baldolini with seven laps remaining. While the 20-year-old German and the 25-year-old Italian continued their battle for the lead, Sofuoglo fell back into the clutches of the pack, where he did his best to hold onto that final podium place. At the finish line there was just 1.7 seconds between third-place De Angelis and 11th-placed Hector Faubel (Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter).
Sofuoglo joined the Moto2 grid at Estoril just a few weeks after clinching his second World Supersport crown with Ten Kate Honda, riding a Honda CBR600RR. The 26-year-old takes the place of Technomag-CIP rider Shoya Tomizawa who lost his life in a high-speed accident during last month’s San Marino Moto2 race.
Marcel Schrötter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team) was out of luck in the 125 race. Starting from the second row for the first time this year, the 17-year-old German had high hopes of a top-ten result but was caught out by a mid-race rain shower. Schrötter crashed shortly before the race was red flagged. World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Derbi) won the restart despite sliding off on the sighting lap and as a result starting from the back row of the grid.
The MotoGP circus now drives across the Iberian peninsula to Valencia, where the last of this year’s 18 World Championship events will take place next weekend at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, just inland from the Mediterranean city of Valencia.
HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V): 3rd “To be back onto the podium is so important for us and I’d like to thank my team and fans for their support this weekend. We can’t be completely happy with our pace today because we were a long way from the front two riders, but overall the result is positive for us. The situation at Estoril has been strange for the whole weekend with every session being held in wet conditions and third position was the best we could have done today. It was quite an aggressive battle with Simoncelli but it has always been like this with him, so I needed to have a strategy for the last lap. He was faster than me in T3 and T4 and every time into the chicane he overtook me, but I knew that it was possible to take him out of the last corner because I had a bit more speed onto the straight, so this was my plan – and it worked. Now it’s possible to fight with Stoner for fourth place in the championship and – although it will be difficult because he was fast here before he crashed and also has a ten point lead – this will be our target for Valencia next weekend.”
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 4th “I am really pleased with my race today. We did everything right and I was able to maintain a good rhythm from the start to the end. Dovizioso was a little bit faster than me on the straights but I still thought I could beat him.
Unfortunately I made a tiny mistake in the final turn and lost a little bit of speed onto the straight, which gave him the advantage over the line. It was a shame but I am still delighted because this feels almost as good as a podium to us. Over the last four or five races I have been consistently on the pace from Friday practice and we did it again here at Estoril. Obviously we still have to work to improve the bike, especially the electronics, if we want to be on the podium but maybe we can do that at Valencia.”
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V): 6th “I am quite satisfied because this is the best result so far after my bad injury. The weather today was good but it was a sort of gamble for everybody as we did not test in the dry. I took a good start and felt immediately comfortable on the bike. I missed my braking point in turn one and ran wide, losing three seconds. Probably without that little mistake I could have battled for the podium. Since my injury I am still facing some problems in braking and during downshifting but I am really pleased with this result and want to thank the team for the good overall package.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): 8th
“I have mixed feelings after this race. On one side the fact that I could finish 28 laps is good because from quite early in the race I didn’t know if it would be possible. From the third lap I lost strength in my left arm and I couldn’t really feel it. Honestly I didn’t think I could keep that pace at the beginning of the race. At one stage I could see that finishing third would have been possible with the pace we were running, but it was impossible because soon I had no power in the arm. On every lap I was feeling more tired and I couldn’t maintain the 1m 39.5 laps. With ten laps to go I couldn’t keep pushing and I dropped back quite a lot. I’m going to have a check-up again with the doctors tomorrow because the arm still feels quite numb, but anyway we’ll have three days to relax and recover to be ready for Valencia. In terms of the position in the championship, I’m 19 points ahead and so I hope to hold on to second place.”
Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 9th “I am disappointed and upset because nothing has gone our way since the start of the season. I don’t know what else to say and I don’t want to start talking about why this is happening to us. All I can say is that I am very disappointed.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V): 12th “I had a good start, but I didn’t want to risk anything at the beginning of the race. First, I wanted to see how the bike and the tyres reacted to the conditions. Then it went better and better and I was faster and faster in the middle of the race. I could catch the group in front of me and was able to overtake them. Unfortunately I made a mistake then and to avoid crashing I had to go wide. Fortunately I didn’t crash, but I lost my position. I am angry about the mistake, but that is racing and it happens. Next time I will try to ride a better race in Valencia.”
— Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista just missed out on 10th place at the Portuguese Grand Prix today as the rain that had plagued the race weekend finally relented to allow a dry race.
Starting from 14th on the grid, Bautista got a good start and by lap five he had moved up in 10th position. As the race wore on he got involved in a battle with Hector Barbera and Hiroshi Aoyama, which saw the three swap places regularly. Bautista fought to the line, but was just unable to get past Barbera in the closing metres and finished a mere 0.187 seconds behind his countryman to claim 11th position.
Loris Capirossi (P13) had a tough afternoon as the injuries that he is suffering with took their toll on the Italian’s battered body. He fought manfully to overcome the discomfort he was suffering and managed to bring the bike – and himself – safely home to see the chequered flag for the first time in six races.
Today’s weather was a marked contrast from what had previously been experienced at the Portuguese circuit as the heavy rain that had caused the cancellation of yesterdays qualifying gave way to windy, but sunny conditions. World title holder Jorge Lorenzo produced a champion’s performance in front of a crowd of just over 40,000 to win the race by over eight seconds from his nearest rival.
Rizla Suzuki will now travel directly to Valencia in Spain for the final round of the season next weekend, with both riders hoping to put today’s difficult race firmly behind them and finish the season on a positive note.
Álvaro Bautista: “I feel very disappointed because I just didn’t expect this result here. I know the weekend has been very strange, because we only rode in dry conditions in the race, but before I came here I thought we would have a good performance. When I started the race I quickly realised I couldn’t get a good rhythm because I didn’t seem to have much grip in the front or rear tyres and on the straights I also had a problem with the bike being very unstable – I even had to close the throttle sometimes because I couldn’t control the bike properly. I fought for a position in the top-10, but I also had a bit of a problem with braking hard and that made it very difficult to overtake other riders. I hope that next week we can finish the season with a good result to make up for today’s disappointment.”
Loris Capirossi: “The race was not so good, nor was the position, but I am still happy because it has been a long time since I have finished a race. I don’t remember when the last one was – I think it was Indianapolis – so to finish was my first target today. We never rode in dry conditions here all weekend so we did not know what setting to go for in the race and the bike was really unstable today, so I had to fight with that as well. I was able to overtake Carlos early on and from then I just wanted to finish the race. It has been really hard for me today, but as I said I am happy just to finish.
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “Going straight into the race with no dry practice at all was always going to throw up some interesting results, but unfortunately we definitely needed some dry running to get the bike working properly. The biggest problem for both riders today was stability, which was not helped by the strong cross winds down the main straight, but our competitors didn’t seem to have the same trouble at all. Álvaro fought hard – as always – but we couldn’t give him a good enough tool for the job today and we’ll be hoping that we can improve things in Valencia and he can finish his season as strongly as his potential has shown in the last few races.
“For Loris it was a bonus for him just to see the chequered flag, his physical condition is far from good and he did well to tough it out and bring the bike home.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (both asymmetric)
Jorge Lorenzo reasserted his dominance of the 2010 season today with a convincing win from pole position, ahead of Fiat Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi.
After two days of torrential rain and high winds, race day provided the first dry running of the weekend after the day’s only rain was a brief downpour in the morning before the warm-up session. By the race start the track was dry, helped by the wind and sun. Every rider used the softer option rear slick tyre, which incorporates extra soft compound rubber in its left shoulder, but front tyre choices were more mixed with six riders choosing the softer option and the rest of the field favouring the greater stability of the harder option. The race was the first dry track time the riders had and the first time Bridgestone’s slicks had been used all weekend and so teams relied on setup data from previous years. Seven of the top eight riders used the harder option front and softer option rear, with fifth-placed Nicky Hayden the top rider to have chosen the softer front.
Behind Lorenzo and second-placed Valentino Rossi, the battle for third was incredibly close between Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli and Hayden. Having traded places throughout the closing laps, rookie Simoncelli came within just 0.06seconds of his maiden MotoGP podium after he was passed by Dovizioso just before the finish line.
Hiroshi Yasukawa – Director, Bridgestone Motorsport
“Congratulations today to Jorge and the Fiat Yamaha Team for their remarkable eighth victory this season and for sealing the Constructors’ title. It was a very tough weekend for all the riders because of the weather but we were able to see some very exciting battles which is important to us. We invited many guests including top management from Europe as MotoGP is a very good business tool for our company, and has a strong impact and image with spectators. We are proud to be a part of this and to use it to showcase our technology and communicate our passion for excellence to a worldwide audience.”
Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“Today was a very difficult race for everyone. The circuit was very slippery at the start because there had been no dry running all weekend. Track conditions were very bad and the teams had no time to set their bikes up in the dry, both of which mean a very hard situation for tyres, but still our slick tyres worked well from start to finish so I am very happy. I am also satisfied with our compound choice because we had no problems with warm-up even in these damp conditions.”
Jorge Lorenzo – Fiat Yamaha Team – Race Winner “It was very tough for everyone and a very complicated race as we didn’t practice in the dry. We started without any feeling on the slicks but we used the same setting from last year here. I saw from the warm-up lap that there were patches of water in some corners so I was very careful not to make any mistakes. Valentino had good pace and was going, but I was patient and could improve my laptimes little by little and he was a little slower so I could catch him and pull away. It’s a lot of time that I didn’t get a victory so this is nice.”